Joined LiveJournal

Well, I finally jumped on the bandwagon and started a LiveJournal account. I’m not going to blog there in any real way, but some of the social networking features are kind of neat. You can use it to find blogs of people who went to your high school, share an interest in camping, etc. Having an account also allows me to comment on other member’s blogs as well and makes me easier for friends to find.

My url there is

WordPress 2.0.1 installed

Well, I took the leap and installed the new version 2.0.1 version of WordPress. It mostly went OK, but unfortunately it broke my photo album (i.e. the only thing worth looking at). Thankfully it’s my own album so I just have a little debugging to do. I hope to have it back online soon.


I figured out the problem. For some reason, $_SERVER[‘PHP_SELF’] was behaving differently than it did before the upgrade. Before it would give the URL to the photos page, but after, it was always returning the URL to index.php. Come to find out, I didn’t need to use it anyway, so I think it’s all fixed now.

Social Dysfunction

This quiz was making the rounds on a friend’s blog. Judging by my results, I doubt its accuracy, but it seemed pretty accurate for them! Here are my results:

Your Social Dysfunction:

Being average in terms of how social you are, as well as the amount of self-esteem you have, you’re pretty much normal. Good on you.

Take this quiz at

Please note that we aren’t, nor do we claim to be, psychologists. This quiz is for fun and entertainment only. Try not to freak out about your results.

Transformers dance video

A few MORE years back, in 1997, Brad, Dave, Eric and I used my parents’ old VHS camcorder to do some stop-motion animation with my transformers over summer break from college. Tonight I put that part of that video to music, and here it is! See “Transformers Dance Video” on the Fun Stuff page. I hope you find it half as amusing as I do!

By the way, there are a couple of “inside jokes” in the video, so if something doesn’t make sense, don’t sweat it!

Do I need a dealer’s license?

When I told my co-workers I planned to trade in my truck, I figured I’d get some grief. After all, we just traded our car a few weeks ago, and I’ve only had this truck for two years. I’ll admit, we do trade a bit more frequently than most… I didn’t really get any grief though. I think they feel we’re beyond help.

Up until two days ago, I drove a 2004 Dodge Dakota 4WD Club Cab with the V6. It served our purposes fairly well, especially pre-child. It had a small back seat which Dusty occupied when going somewhere with Evan. That seat was far too small for a child seat, and as we understand, even if we could fit it back there, he would likely be injured in a collision due to the lack of room for the car seat to move and absorb impact- basically he’d slam into the front seat or back window very quickly. So, Evan rode in the front seat (with the airbag disabled of course). That truck was also our tow vehicle for the camper, which it handled pretty well.

We spent most of the prior week test-driving all the mini-truck 4-door models (Tacoma, Frontier, Colorado, Dakota). With the exception of the Colorado, any of them would have made a suitable replacement. The Dakota was powerful and rode well, the Toyota was very refined, and the Frontier was amazingly quick (with it’s 265hp V6).

In the end, the Dakota broke the tie due to price. I will say that I got a very good deal. I was dealing with the dealer in Pekin on a 2WD truck in Ohio (it’s hard to find the strip-down models). We were $1000 away from making a deal, so I went up to Peoria. My saleman there (from whom I bought the previous Dakotas) showed me a 4WD very similar to the one in Ohio. In the end he gave me the 4WD for the price of the 2WD from Pekin.

What we ended up with was a new Mineral Gray 2005 Dakota Quad Cab ST 4WD with the V8. This truck has a full size backseat, which was truly the driving force for trading. Now Evan can ride comfortably (and safely) in the back seat. I think we’re in good shape now, even if another child is in our future. As a bonus, the stronger engine will tow our camper more easily and is rated for essentially the same mileage as the V6. This truck is about as stripped-down as they come in terms of amenities, but that’s the way I like them. It’s got the driveline options, but that’s it.

I know I’ve said it before, but we should be able to hang on to this one for a while… The next step is to get the Line-X spray-in bedliner again and figure out what to do with the bed.

The 12-step program

No, none of us are alcoholics, but Evan is getting over a dependence: something to hold on to while standing. Tonight we were playing with Evan. Dusty sat across the room while I stood Evan up and and let him hold on to my fingers. We’ve done this before, and usually Evan tries to go toward her but won’t let go of my fingers (at least not with both hands). Tonight he decided to kick the habit. He let go of my fingers, stood there for a couple of seconds, took about a dozen small steps and dove into Dusty’s arms. After the first two steps I think he realized he could actually pull it off, as he started smiling and laughing instead of his usual tactic of dropping to the floor to crawl. Most of his little buddies are pretty good at walking (they’re a few months older though), but before too long he’ll be able to keep up with them!

Taking the minivan plunge

We’re now officially minivan owners… arguably. No one seems to agree on what our new vehicle is. We traded our CRV on a Mazda 5 a couple of days ago. It’s a quirky little vehicle that not too many people are familiar with: two sliding doors, rear liftgate, three rows of seating, and front wheel drive. Sounds like a minivan so far. However, it weighs about the same as a Honda Accord, is only three inches longer than my sister’s little Saturn SL1, and I can look right over the top of it, which classifies it as a mid-size hatchback/wagon. Add in the 17″ wheels, low profile tires, auto/manual transmission, general sporty appearance, and handling no tall vehicle can match, and the issue is further confused.

Cross-shopping for competing models, we found that the price was considerably lower than most minivans, SUV’s and three-row wagons, and the mileage was considerably better as well. Admittedly, it’s a little small in the third row of seats, but the idea is to have a couple of extra seats when you need them, and a flat cargo area when you don’t. We took a short ride with Dusty, myself, Evan, my mom, my dad, and my sister in the car, and it was reasonably comfortable. I’ve ridden in the third row for a 1.5 hr drive and it was just fine- better than the back seat of my truck anyway.

Now, I know I’m going to get a little grief for trading cars again- with good reason. We had the Saturn for 2 years, the Mini for 6 months, and the CRV for just under two years. In our defense, this was the vehicle we were looking for when we got the CRV, except they didn’t make it yet. Coming from the Mini, handling was an important issue. Nothing against the CRV (it was a nice vehicle, nothing to get excited about, but a comfortable way to get from point A to point B), but we were really looking for wagon, and failing to find one we liked in our price range, we got the SUV. The new Mazda handles like a car (zoom zoom!) without the body roll, has more seating, and should get the same or better mileage. This is one “minivan” we don’t mind owning!

Oh yeah, a picture… well, we just left our camera at the in-laws after a visit, so I’ll just link to it on